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Saturday June 15, 2024

JCC doesn’t take up plea for hiking tenor of Chinese IPPs $15.4bn debt

JCC was told that so far China had invested over $17 billion in undertaking CPEC projects in Pakistan since 2014-15

By Mehtab Haider
May 25, 2024
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal co-chairs the 12th (special) CPECs JCC meeting with Chinas National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice Chairman Cong Liang. — APP/file
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal co-chairs the 12th (special) CPEC's JCC meeting with China's National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice Chairman Cong Liang. — APP/file

ISLAMABAD: Amid the sharing of messages by the Chief Ministers of three provinces, except CM Punjab Maryam, Nawaz, the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) under the CPEC did not take up any request for increasing the tenor of Chinese IPPs debt of $15.4 billion.

The Ministry of Power had prepared some proposals and consulted with the relevant ministries but it was not presented before the 13th JCC meeting held virtually here on Friday. However, both sides agreed to undertake joint feasibility for exploring the possibility of converting electricity generation from imported coal to local coal to save $1 billion. This may take longer time as it is dependent on the finalisation of the construction of the ML-1 rail line and the attached cost will be borne for the transportation of coal from Thar to Sahiwal.

The JCC was told that so far China had invested over $17 billion in undertaking CPEC projects in Pakistan since 2014-15. But with the overall rollout in all shapes including soft loans, the total disbursement of Chinese outstanding loan amount stood at $27.3 billion. If all the Chinese rollover of deposits and commercial financing were included the outstanding amount stood at $35-$37 billion.

Both sides also agreed to move towards the construction of the much-awaited Mainline (ML-1) and progress on the financing agreement will be made during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to China in the first week of June 2024.

“Out of 13 JCC meetings, this was 10th JCC held under his co-chairmanship whereby both the countries decided to kick-start the second phase of CPEC,” Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal said while addressing a news conference here at P Block on Friday. The federal minister said that CPEC had come to a stop from 2018 to 2022 and even the dredging of Gwadar Port was not done properly.

The Planning Minister said that both sides agreed to complete three power projects of 2100 MW including the Kohala and Azad Pattan hydropower projects having a capacity of 1800 MW and the remaining 300 MW for the Gwadar power project.

He said that both countries also agreed to establish two more joint working groups on the water resource, climate change and mining sectors. On the issue of security, he said that the government has raised a special division to ensure the security of Chinese working in different projects.

Iqbal said that the government would repay the outstanding amount of circular debt of Chinese IPPs standing at a level of Rs 523 billion